It has the atmosphere of an old-fashioned train station, but no one is in a hurry. A conductor’s hat hangs in the corner, but no trains have ever left from here. It’s likely for the best, because the conductor is probably getting drunk on Osteria della Stazione’s fabulous wine – just like everyone else inside this lovely establishment.
To enter Osteria della Stazione, you must do so by walking through a wood-paneled door that could have easily belonged to New York’s Grand Central Station in the 1940s. Once inside, you’ll feel as though you should have a suitcase by your side, ready to depart on a rail adventure.
But the only journey you’ll actually be taking is to the land of vino. You’ll be greeted by the mayor of this great land, who goes by the name Gunnar Cautero. A former football player for the Milan Rhinos American football team, Cautero has never met a stranger.
He’ll welcome you to his restaurant, seat you in one of the many lovely tables on offer, and eventually ask what you’d like to drink. You may or may not get a menu…just go with it. Cautero knows his stuff, and he knows what you like better than you do.
One of his best recommendations is a red wine that he is particularly proud of, because it comes from the refosco grape – which he describes as a resilient Italian grape that has withstood the ages. If you’re offered a glass, take a bottle. If you’re only in the mood for a sip or two, surrender to the fact that this wine will wrap you around its cork, laughing at the sheer foolishness of anyone who thought they could stop after just a taste.
If it’s aperitivo time, you’ll get some homemade bread and cuts of meat to snack on, but only after you confirm to Cautero that you’re not a vegetarian, and he thanks you for it. This is a man who knows that his food (including the meat) is worth eating, and to miss out would be a great tragedy.
The dishes focus on seasonal products, and range from pastas and risottos to codfish and beef tartare.
Once your food arrives, your only task is to sit back and watch the comings and goings of this lively restaurant, particularly because most of the customers seem to know and love Cautero, who makes all of them feel like a celebrity when they arrive.
When your last bite has been eaten and your wine glass is empty, Cautero will say “Not so bad?” You will laugh and reply with “Not so bad.” But deep down, you both know it’s been better than your typical evening out.
Address: Via Popoli Uniti, 26